Make your own DIY Tetherball Set!

Make this fun DIY tetherball set for your backyard in an afternoon, and for half the cost of buying new! 

We’ve been on a quest to add some really fun things to our backyard! In addition to building a wooden swingset, we also made this DIY tetherball set. Our kids LOVE it. It’s an easy weekend project you can even make in an afternoon, which is a huge bonus.

DIY Tetherball Set

It all started a few weeks ago, after re-discovering tetherball at our friends’ home. The kids absolutely loved it, and played it the entire time we were there. As soon as we got home (it started in the car), they begged us to get a tetherball set for our own backyard. When I checked them out on online, and saw prices around $100, I knew I could make one for less. And I did! This version uses an old tire and cement, making it super durable and strong. We’ve had a bunch of kids (and adults) playing on it, and it’s held up extremely well.

By making our own, I saved more than half of that! Plus, it’s incredibly sturdy and durable, and made to last. We absolutely love it, and our family has already spent a lot of time outside enjoying it. It really is an easy, doable project that will bring hours of fun.

Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com

Great backyard game for families

What I love about tetherball is that it appeals to all ages. Teenagers love it. Elementary kids love it. Even the littles love grabbing the ball, throwing it, and trying to get it to spin around the pole. There aren’t many backyard games that fit into this category, so I knew it would be a good one to have as our family grew.  If you have a family with both littles and big kids, this is a great game to have, because all of you can enjoy it together. 

And don’t forget the adults! My husband and I love it too–both with our kids, and also other adults when we are entertaining. We’ve loved having it in our backyard.

How To Make Your Own DIY Tetherball Set For Half the Cost!

Easy to do + half the cost = lots of backyard fun!

It really is so worth it to make your own. It only took about an hour to put together, then 24 hours of drying time. Totally an easy weekend project! When you add in the facts that you can not only save more than half of the ones at the store and that it’s way more sturdy, you’ve got a winner. 

If you’re wondering about ages, even young children can enjoy playing, all the way up to adults. My five year old boys are totally obsessed with it, and they could have easily played last summer as well, at the age of four. I love that my kids can play together, or even one of them alone.

Here’s the price breakdown: 

(these prices may vary where you live, or where you purchase them)

  • Tire – free
  • Pole – $15
  • Rebar – $1.50
  • Wire – $2
  • Cement – $6
  • Hardware – $5
  • Ball – $15

= $45!! 

I saved more than $60!! What a huge difference! The savings was definitely worth an afternoon of work, especially when I know exactly what I’m getting.

Here’s how to make your own DIY Tetherball Set:

SUPPLIES:

  • tire (no bigger than a car tire–not SUV) 
  • 1 5/8 x 8 ft. 16 gauge galvanized steel line pole
  • (2) 1 ft. pieces of rebar
  • cement (180 lbs–we used 3 bags of concrete, 60 lbs. each)
  • 5/8 x 3 in. round swivel eye bolt snap
  • 1/4 x 2 5/8 in. eye bolt
  • 2 washers, lock washer, and nut (all 1/4 inch–we bought a package that had all three in it)
  • 18 gaugegalvanized wire
  • tetherball with rope (this is the one we got–it glows in the dark!
  • drill (impact drill with bit made for metal)
  • supplies to mix cement–shovel, container, water (we put ours in a large bucket)
  • ladder

The base of the tetherball set uses an old tire. You’ll want to find one that isn’t from an SUV, or overly large. Filling it with cement would make it will be extremely difficult to move. It’s nice to be able to turn to roll it out of the way, or into the barn (or garage) during the winter months to protect it from the elements. It can stay in one place, and if you have no intention to move it, then I suppose you could use a bigger tire. If so, you’d definitely need more cement in order to fill it. 

If you don’t have an old tire handy, my suggestion is to check the junkyard or landfill. We’ve always had good luck, and been able to find what we’re looking for.  Another option is to ask around–you could have friends or family with an old tire taking up space, and looking for a way to dispose of it.

DIRECTIONS:

Before you start, prepare a space for the project.  We made ours on our back patio, but any place that room for your supplies will work. Spread out a piece of plastic sheeting, or a large (strong) garbage bag. This will protect your surface from the cement, and make for a much easier clean up when finished. Lay out your supplies so they’re ready to go, and have the ladder nearby. This isn’t a difficult project, but you do need a second set of hands for the cement part. An older child could certainly help, and it’s a great way to get all of your kids involved.

1. Drill holes into one end of your line pole, in a cross pattern. (The ends are the same, so it doesn’t matter which one you do.) Ours are about 2 inches from the bottom pole, and then 5 inches above that. To determine how far apart to drill your holes, measure the inside of your tire.

It’s going to be buried in the cement, so you don’t want it to poke out the top or the bottom of your tire. Slide in the rebar, and use the galvanized wire to secure them into place. On the opposite end of the pole, drill a hole for the eye bolt, and secure it with a washer and the 1/4 inch nut.

Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com
Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com
Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com

2. Set out your tire on a large garbage bag or plastic sheeting. Mix your cement (we used a shovel and an inexpensive container that we bought at The Home Depot), making sure to follow the directions on the bag. We used the Quikrete brand, which dries pretty fast–within 24 hours we were ready to play!

Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com

3. Shovel the mixed cement into center of the tire, spreading and evening it out as you go. Set up a tall ladder right next to the tire (or something else you can steady the pole and keep it in place with). Push the bottom of the pole with the rebar, end first down into the cement, making sure it’s centered, and that the rebar is completely covered. If you get cement on the tire, don’t worry–once it’s dry, you can scrape it right off.

4. Use a level to make sure it’s standing completely straight, then use the galvanized wire to tie it to the side of the ladder for stability, and so it will stay that way while it dries. You’ll see we had lots of helpers! Our kids loved to help, and an extra pair or two of hands on these last steps really are necessary.

Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com
Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com
Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com
Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com

5. Let it dry! We added the kids’ names into the surface of the concrete after 3-4 hours–don’t do it right away, you’ll need the cement to be semi-firm to hold. My husband was the overseer of this part, and let the kids do it themselves. If I had to do it over again, I would just have him do it–it’s a lot more difficult for kids to do it, they generally aren’t strong enough to write it deep enough. If you have older kids, they could probably do it, but under 6 is a bit tricky.  Even their handprints would be fun, if they want to do it themselves.  

Easy DIY Tetherball Set | oldsaltfarm.com

6. After the cement is totally dry, clip the snap bolt onto the eye bolt at the top of the pole, and tie the rope onto the swivel portion of the snap bolt. You don’t have to use a snap bolt, but it makes it a lot easier if you want to remove the ball from the tetherball pole.

You’re done, and ready to PLAY! We keep ours outside all through the summer months and into a bit of fall, then roll it into the barn for the winter months. It’s also easy to unclip the ball and just put that away, which helps to keep it nice all year long. 

*To further customize your tetherball set, you could paint the pole or the tire…or both!  Let the kids go to town with the paint (in paint clothes, for sure!), putting their handprints on the tire, or even adding their artwork. 

Happy summer! If you’re looking for even more ways to do summer on a budget, check out this post…I have a bunch ideas. We also love our wooden swing set, another great weekend project that can save you a bundle and add a ton of backyard fun.

*Originally posted July 2015.

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47 Comments

  1. My son loves tetherball and he would love this. I was just wondering if having it cemented in the tire (as opposed to the ground) kept it from wobbling enough.

    1. It’s actually very sturdy, and we’ve had no problems with it tipping. In fact, it’s pretty hard to move! :) My little kids have no problem, but even my husband and I can play without it wobbling. It’s one of our favorite things!! xoxo

    2. We just made a tetherball set for our 3 littles. They love it. I like it because if I want to move it in the yard, I can..

      1. Yay!! I’m so glad!! And yes, I love that it’s moveable if you need it to be. Enjoy!! xo

      2. Do you think it would work to put just a one foot chunk of wider pipe in the cement as a receiver for the long pole so that the long pole could be removed? Kind of like a heavy duty stand that they make for deck umbrellas.

  2. We had one of these as a kid. Seems to be exactly the same. Wait til the kids pull it down on its side and catapult themselves. Sorry mom!

  3. Thanks for the clear instructions. Everyone I know has one of these and I want one for my grandchildren, and now I can make one with them. I see people moving them into and out thier garage by tilting the tire a little and rolling it along. If you have a tall enough garage/short enough rope, kids can play in the winter when the cars are out.

    1. You are so welcome!! And totally–if you don’t have a ton of snow like we do, you can definitely play through the winter! :) Thanks so much for stopping by!! xoxo

  4. I loved playing tetherball as a kid! Our elementary school had about 8 tetherball piles and they were always being used. I want my husband and son to make two of these…one for tetherball and the second for a volleyball net!

    1. They totally bring back memories of elementary school! And a set for volleyball and tetherball is perfect!

  5. For the top where you tie the rope to the eye bolt (or snap bolt to.the eye bolt) does it matter that its off to a side instead of the top of the pole? Going to try to do this next week.
    Thanks so much for the tutorial

    1. Hi, Marshall! I’m so sorry, I’m not quite sure what you are asking! Our bolts go through the pole, from side-to-side.

      1. Marshall, It works great even though the eye bolt comes out the side. Most poles are designed this way, they don’t have the tie come straight out the top or the rope would rub and wear out quickly.

  6. Curious as to why not an SUV tire? That’s what I have available and would love to use it for this project. Too heavy to move? Too wide that it inhibits play? Uses too much concrete?

    1. We just used the tire we could find for free, and this is the one we got! :) I think an SUV tire would be fine, and I don’t think it would inhibit play too much. It may be quite a bit heavier, but if you don’t want to move it a lot, then it shouldn’t be a problem. We wanted to leave ours outside, so I bought a ball that clipped off to kept inside during the winter. Good luck! xoxo

  7. I think we used an SUV Tire because it took 360 lbs. of dry concrette to fill it. We also used the heavy 2″x 10′ $46.00 pole.
    I will let you know if we can move it, once it dries. YIKES!!!

    1. WOW!! That sounds awesome! Definitely keep me updated…we are making another one, and I’d love to hear how it turns out! xoxo

  8. Great project! We’re building it right now. We did change one thing to make it easier. To hold the rebar in place, we used a commercial strength glue instead of the wire.

  9. Thanks for the clear step-by-step instructions. We made this over a weekend and the kids (and us parents) love it!! So fun, and very sturdy!

    1. YAY!! That’s so awesome!! I hope you love it as much as we do. Happy Summer!! xoxo

  10. Just got done building this! Turned out great, however we ran out of cement so had to go back and get 1 more bag then I set my alarm for 3 hours so we could put our hand prints on it but we were too late, the cement was already hardened. ? Just a suggestion get 4 bags of cement (you can always return it) and set a timer maybe for 2 hours.

    1. Darn! Running out of cement is the worst!! :( Yes, it’s definitely better to have more than less–since you can always return it if you have it leftover. xoxo

    1. I got mine from neighborhood pick up. It actually came off an old trampoline pole. But you can alwYzngo to a hardware shop. ( Home depot)

  11. You did an amazing job on the project. I actually used a SUV tire and used way less cement. I actually took some dirt and filled in the sides then I took some cement to fill the middle.

  12. We just made it using your instructions! We are super excited and can’t wait to play on it! Thank you, thank you for posting this! And we loved all your pics describing the process!! 💕💕

  13. I would love to make one of these for my backyard but have a couple of questions. When you pour the cement into the tire does in not spread out beneath the tire? Also, I have a 15 year old son- do you think it will stand up to him and his friends or is this intended more for younger kids? Thanks for the great idea!

    1. Hi, Peg! The cement is pretty thick, and the tire is flat on the ground, so it didn’t seep out at all for us. And I’ve never received a comment from any of my readers that have made it about it happening to them either. As far as the age range goes, we played with adults quite a bit, and it was totally fine! I think just regular playing it can stand up to teenagers too. Hope this helps!!

  14. Thank you! I bought three bags but I need one more which I’ll buy tomorrow since Home Depot is closed. The mosquitoes provided a lot of motivation lol! Thanks

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